Our first chakra is the Muladhara or root chakra and is located at the base of the spine. Mula means root or base in Sanskrit and this first energy center symbolizes our roots. It involves grounding, supporting and nurturing and establishes the deepest connections with your physical body, your environment and the earth. It is your survival center and your fight-or-flight response is initiated from this chakra. There is an energy stored under this chakra which is often referred to as the ‘coiled serpent’ and Kundalini yoga focuses on stimulating this energy. The associated colour with the Muladhara chakra is red. The associated body parts include the base of the spine, the legs, feet and the large intestine.
First Chakra Imbalances
If you find you are constantly suffering from financial or health issues, your first chakra may be blocked or unbalanced. Circumstances that can cause these imbalances include travelling, relocation, feeling fearful and big changes in your body, family, finances and business. People with busy minds and active imaginations are especially vulnerable to become deficient in this chakra, since they feel ungrounded most of the time, living more in the head than in the body. At the moment I experience a ‘survival crisis’; I have moved to the other side of the world, my temporary job agreement will end soon, I worry about my finances and future job possibilities and feel fearful towards all these insecurities. In addition, I am the owner of an extremely active mind and I have developed a perfect talent for worrying about everything in abundance. I have almost forgotten to relax and trust in my life and especially in my own skills and abilities – also related to the third chakra. Organs and glands associated with this chakra are the adrenal glands and organs of elimination (kidney, skin, colon), bones, hair, nails and legs. If the chakra is sluggish, you might have constipation and if this chakra is overstimulated you might have diarrhea. If I feel stressed, excited or worried, it has an immediate effect on my digestion resulting in many toilet visits.
Yoga and the Muladhara Chakra
Fortunately, yoga exists. There are many yoga poses that correct Muladhara chakra imbalances and thereby bringing you back to your body and the earth and help you experience safety, security and stillness. Standing poses balance and strengthen the first chakra which helps the body to become more grounded and centered. If you are not able to stand firmly, then you are like a tree without roots. There only has to be a small storm and the tree is easily uprooted. You first need to be rooted, before you can grow and move forward. Yoga can provide you with this sense of stability on the matt and in life’s challenges. Other specific target areas for this first chakra are the piriformis muscle in the hip and buttocks and the adductor muscles in the inner thighs. Tightness in hips, groins and hamstrings are related to blocks in the first energy center. These are exactly the places where most of my tightness comes from. A lot of people store emotions in the hips and therefore develop tightness in this area. If you’re in a pose such as pigeon or lizard pose you can start to observe your arising emotions. The practice of yoga can enhance the development of the Muladhara chakra qualities: calmness, patience and a willingness to slow down and stay in one place. Your confidence can be boosted and fears can be eased as you allow yourself to trust the earth and your body. It is helpful to end your yoga practice with peaceful restorative poses, like Supta Baddha Konasana or Salamba Balasana, because this will settle an overactive mind and encourage you to surrender to gravity.
Balancing this first Chakra further
The sense associated with this chakra is the sense of smell and the food for this chakra are protein-rich foods and red foods. Preparing protein-rich food and enjoying the smells while you’re cooking can support you to bring yourself back in your body. As a vegetarian, I probably easily miss out on a lot of red food. If you nourish your physical body it supports you with grounding. For this reason, eating is a first chakra activity and the challenge is to eat mindfully. A peaceful walk in the nature, can also help you to ground and connect with the earth. Signs of excessiveness in this chakra include gaining a lot of excess weight, greed and hoarding. Hoarding keeps the energy from flowing freely, you need to let go to get the energy moving. The challenge is to accept your body, feel it, validate it and love it. For me personally, a massage can help to quiet down my mind and make myself (more) aware of my physical body.
Fear of survival, fear of abandonment and feeling insecure are all first chakra emotions that can be stored in your body. Emotions can leave deep impressions within your body and often cause illness. By targeting the muscles where these emotions are stored, you can begin to unblock emotional toxics that are trapped. Yoga is a great tool to do this. For sure all of the seven chakras are important and interconnected with each other. Therefore balancing one chakra will usually create change in another chakra as well. However, it is important to balance the root charka first to create stability and centeredness, necessary for true transformation and personal growth. Safety and security are required for real growth and change.